A police officer grew emotional Tuesday as she recounted holding the hand of a sheriff's major as he lay bleeding with a gunshot wound above his right eye.
“I was just telling him to keep fighting, that he could make it through,” Katie Lawson testified during the trial of a man charged with shooting and robbing John Waldenville who was carrying $6,000 for Cattlemen's Steakhouse.
Lawson knew firsthand what Waldenville was going through. She was shot six times in May 2010 after assisting a sheriff's deputy with a traffic stop. Her attacker fired 20 rounds into Lawson's patrol car with a civilian version of an M-16 military assault rifle.
Two months after returning to work for the Oklahoma City Police Department, Lawson was one of the first officers to come to the aid of Waldenville.
Lawson knelt down beside the off-duty deputy, who was conscious and trying to communicate.
Christopher Travis Baker, 30, of Oklahoma City, is charged with shooting with intent to kill and robbery with a firearm.
Prosecutors allege Baker shot and robbed Waldenville after he left Cattlemen's to make a bank deposit just after midnight on May 21, 2011.
Waldenville, 61, worked as a security guard for the restaurant when he was ambushed. He was robbed of two bank bags containing $6,000, a Cattlemen's manager testified.
A co-defendant in the case, Keonte Stephen Terrell Prince, 19, of Oklahoma City, is awaiting trial.
Prince previously testified that Baker shot and robbed Waldenville; prosecutors told the jury they plan to introduce a transcript of Baker's testimony into evidence.
Waldenville, it turns out, may have confronted his assailants about 30 minutes before he was gunned down, according to witness testimony.
Loitering in parking lot
Tim Green, a night manager, said Waldenville talked to two black males wearing hooded sweatshirts and shorts seen loitering in the parking lot, after two female patrons asked the deputy to escort them to their cars.
Green testified that Waldenville didn't “seem concerned,” that they “were a couple of kids waiting for a ride.”
A Cattlemen's dishwasher testified about standing in front of the restaurant waiting for his mother to pick him up when he saw two black males in hooded sweatshirts and shorts standing in front of the restaurant just before Waldenville exited with the bank deposit.
Rickardo Cardenas said one of the males was Prince, a former Cattlemen's dishwasher who asked Cardenas for a cigarette.
Cardenas identified Baker as the other black male.
Cardenas told the jury that as soon as his mother pulled up, he saw “two men running toward the drugstore,” in the same direction as Waldenville.
“I had a really bad feeling … and then I heard a gunshot,” Cardenas said.
The dishwasher told his mother to drive around the block, where he saw Waldenville lying in the street. Cardenas attempted to stop the bleeding by applying pressure to Waldenville's eye with restaurant napkins.
Baker's attorney told jurors in his opening statement that prosecutors “got the wrong guy,” pointing the finger at Prince.
“Keonte Prince robbed Major Waldenville,” Craig Hoehns said. “Keonte Prince was part of it.”
Hoehns attempted to discredit the testimony of Cardenas, saying he told police he said he didn't get a good look at the second black male. The attorney also accused the dishwasher of selecting Baker because he was the only black man in the courtroom who was not the judge or a jury member.
Oklahoma County Sheriff John Whetsel and more than a dozen deputies attended the first day of testimony.
Waldenville was not in the courtroom, but three of his sisters were. They declined to comment.
“It's difficult to know that we're sitting across the room from someone who's charged with the shooting of one of our own,” Whetsel said outside the courtroom during a break in the trial.